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Thursday Program

Convention co-chairman Walter Krueger welcomes attendees to a private party at his home in Homer Glen. Much of Walter's extraordinary Oz collection will be on display and some very special guests will be in attendance. We'll have plenty of food and soft drinks, but please BYOB.

Note that this a private residence; it it not fully accessible to those with mobility limitations. Parents are expected to supervise their own children. Address, driving and parking directions will be sent directly to registered convention guests in advance.

Walter Krueger Oz collection

Friday Program

program co-chair Walter Krueger

After breakfast (provided to guests at Georgios) on Friday, we'll head over to the Red Barn at Konow's Corn Maze (16849 S. Cedar Road, Homer Glen, IL 60491) for a morning program and lunch on "Dorothy's Farm"

Nome Kings MineVisitors from Oz at Dorothy's Farm

Visitors from Oz (that's us!) will gather at Dorothy’s farm for hands-on fun. Come in costume, if you'd like. Mine for the Nome King’s treasure, battle the Metal Monarch with eggs, and watch out for a possible twister! Enjoy lunch with Billina, the yellow hen of Oz. Oz Club members Kevin Thomas will challenge your tornado knowledge, while Raymond Wohl closes our program with The Wizard of Oz as you’ve never seen it before. It’s all happening under the rainbow at Konow’s.

We'll then travel to the Joliet Area Historical Museum (204 N Ottawa St, Joliet, IL 60432) for our Friday afternoon program, which features Oz animation, then dinner and an evening program of Dorothy, Ozma and magical music.

Eshbaugh 01Oz Animation Celebrationl

We'll be screening an assortment of Oz animated films in the lower-level auditorium at the Joliet Area Historical Museum.

Rankin TalesThe Oz Productions of Rankin/Bass by Rick Goldschmidt

Our special guest, historian and biographer for Rankin/Bass Productions Rick Goldschmidt, will provide an in-depth look at that company's memorable Oz productions, including Tales of the Wizard of Oz (1961), Return to Oz (1964), and Baum's The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (1985).


China Girl Doll Oz the Great and PowerfulThe Animated Toys of Oz by David Kelleher and Walter Krueger

Oz collectors David Kelleher and Walter Krueger will present a talk on toys based on animated Oz productions. Examples of animated Oz toyand other animated material will be on display at the museum.

Danielle Hope as Dorothy 2011A Fashion Show of Dorothys

From W.W. Denslow to Legends of Oz, a dozen different Dorothys will ease on down the road to showcase how our favorite Oz traveler has been portrayed through the years. Enjoy the fashion show that brings each of these different Dorothys to life on the runway.

Ozma Ridley Interview with a Lost Princess, special guest Emma Ridley

Meet Emma Ridley, Princess Ozma in Disney's live-action 1985 film, Return to Oz. For more than 30 years Oz fans have enjoyed this film without tracking down Emma to learn first-hand what it was like to be on the set making magic. Ryan Jay, so is now co-writing a book with Emma about her Return to Oz memories, brings his expertise to the interview. 

Denslow Scarecrow and Tin Man playingThe Music of Oz hosted by Karen Diket

We'll conclude our Friday evening program on the lovely rooftop terrace of the Joliet Area Historical Museum with a concert of "The Music of Oz." Your fellow Oz fans will honor songs associated with more than a century of Oz musical production. Enjoy this review of songs both famous and obscure. Performers include: Jane Albright, Victoria Calamito, David Diket, Karen Diket, Rob Dorn, Rick Goldschmidt & The Starving Artists, Carrie Hedges, Caitlyn Jackson, Pete Schulenburg, Anthony Whitaker, and Ray Wohl.

Saturday Program 

program co-chair Scott Cummings

Our full Saturday program will be held at Quality Inn Suites / Georgios Conference Center (8800 West 159th Street, Orland Park, Illinois, 60462). The program will emphasize Chicago’s many Oz connections with main-stage speakers, presentations and performances. After morning registration and a welcome reception, we'll embark on a morning program featuring presentations on the Oz connections to Chicago and Oz drama. Lunch and dinner will be provided with Saturday registration.

RB Land

The Men Behind the Curtain by Atticus Gannaway

In the last 15 years of his life, L. Frank Baum reserved almost all of his literary output for a single publisher: the Reilly & Britton Company of Chicago. Baum met Frank Reilly and Sumner Britton when they were the employees of George M. Hill, who published The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900 but went bankrupt soon afterward. How did Hill's company go under when the first Oz book was the bestseller of its year? What role did Reilly & Britton play in making the Oz series such a success? Go behind the Oz stories, and discover some of the historically fascinating connections and tragic personal circumstances of the men who brought Baum's timeless fantasies to the reading public.

Denslow at the Fair cover small

"W.W. Denslow's Illustrations of the 1893 World's Fair" by Scott Cummings and Randy Hercey

The illustrator of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz moved to Chicago in 1893 just as the World's Columbian Exposition opened in Jackson Park. The Chicago Herald employed Denslow to illustrate a series of feature articles about the fair, but very few of these ephemeral illustrations have been seen since. We will showcase examples of Denslow's imaginative scenes, humorous caricatures, and anthropomorphic creatures--some of which anticipate the vision of Oz he created six years later.

Ragni Denslow totem

"From Expo to Oz: W.W. Denslow in Chicago" by Cindy Ragni

Artist W. W. Denslow flourished in Chicago, even before the publication of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900. In the Windy City he gained notoriety for his bold poster and book cover design, joined the Bohemian Club, worked for the Roycrofters, and met L. Frank Baum. A sampling of his work during this period will be presented.

Campbell 06 Act 1 Snow

"An Ozzy Toy Theater" by Bill Campbell

A look at constructing a miniature theater based on the 1903 Broadway production of The Wizard of Oz extravaganza.

Rypma Emerald City 2

"The Sacred Lore of Emeralds: The Gemological Significance of Oz's Capital" by Judith Rypma

Although biographical critics often credit the choice of emerald as the featured gemstone in the city of Oz to Baum’s mother-in-law’s Irish roots or his own birthstone, Rypma takes an archetypal approach. Arguing that a long history of ancient, classical, medieval, mythological, and even theosophical gem lore sets a precedent, she explores the complexity of why this particular jewel is the ideal material for the Emerald City.

Calamito Oz Vlog postcardjpg

 "Oz Fandom in the Age of Social Media" by Tori Calamito

Join Tori, host of "The Oz Vlog" on YouTube, as she discusses the many ways in which the social media revolution has impacted the Oz fandom.

Crotzer Tin Man

"Men of Straw, Wood, and Tin: Reading Physical Difference and Disability in L. Frank Baum's Oz"

by Sarah Crotzer

Sarah Crotzer's presentation will look at ways in which Baum's Oz can be interpreted to include and celebrate depictions of physical difference and disability.


Bill Thompson auctionOur afternoon program features a highlight for Oz collectors: the famous Oz Auction, headed by auctioneer Bill Thompson. Bid to win Oz treasures for your collection and help raise important funds for the Oz Club.  More information about the auction, and a list of items available for bidding, can be found here.

Some alternate afternoon activities will include demonstrations by artist John Mundt of how to draw Oz characters (and the option to have him draw your favorite!), a sneak peek at a new Return to Oz documentary film by Aaron Pacentine, a never-before-seen Oz video, and some Oz crafts and games.

If you wish to explore Chicagoland, consider using absentee bidding for our auction and taking a drive up to visit the Kane County Flea Market where hundreds of vendors will keep scavenger hunters searching for Oz treasures. 

After the auction, we'll have The Oz Collector's Show and Tellfor showing off an interesting or unusual item from your collection, and The Great and Terrible Oz Exchange, for swapping Oz items from your collection with others.

Our dinner (included with registration) will be  by a 60th birthday celebration the Oz Club, with Ozzy cake and presents for all, and followed by the announcement of the 2017 L. Frank Baum Award. For our evening program, we welcome some special guests to explore the dramatic side of Oz.

 Lux Radio LPThe 1950 Lux Radio Theatre Wizard of Oz radio show performed live by Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, introduced by John Fricke

Lux presents Hollywood! Welcome the cast from Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear as they recreate the famous Lux Radio Theatre 1950 radio broadcast of The Wizard of Oz. The hour-long Christmas show originally starred Judy Garland in her legendary role as Dorothy. For our program, a 13-member professional company will take us behind the scenes of the golden age of radio to relive the historic broadcast. 


"The Selig Polyscope Company's Oz Films" by Adam Selzer

Chicago historian Adam Selzer will discuss Baum's Oz films with the Selig Polyscope Company of Chicago, and we will screen the Selig 1910 Wizard of Oz film, which was shot in Chicago.


Sunday Program Options

Oz Breakfast

After a lavish breakfast buffet and omelet bar, you can head in whichever direction interests you most. Sign up for a group tour into Chicago, head into the city to see Oz Parkjoin friends for an open house at Walter Krueger’s, see what’s playing in the Oz-theme movie theaters in Woodridge and Naperville, or enjoy the final day of the Midwest Oz Fest.

Oz Park Dorothy


Chicago Oz Tour
trolleyInteresting in seeing sites in the city related to the life and times of L. Frank Baum, W.W. Denslow, and the Oz publishers? Then, join us as we tour Chicago's Loop and nearby neighborhoods to experience vestiges of the amazing architecture, luxurious lobbies, and stately streets that the creators of Oz experienced a century ago!  

  • We'll start with "A Walk in the White City" tour (<1 mile of walking) around part of the historic 1893 Columbian Exposition grounds in Jackson Park.
  • A short train ride will bring us into downtown Chicago, where we will embark on a walking tour of Michigan Avenue (0.4 miles) past the exteriors of the Fine Arts Building (where Denslow and several other Baum illustrators had offices), Orchestra Hall (where Baum presented his Fairylogue and Radio-Plays in 1908), Montgomery Ward Tower (Denslow contributed to their famous catalogues), the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts (where Oz illustrator Dick Martin studied), and into the stunning lobbies of the Monroe Building (home of P.F. Volland, publishers of Ruth Plumly Thompson titles), the Palmer House Hotel (where The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was presented to the public at a book fair in July 1900), and the Chicago Athletic Club (where Baum and George M. Hill were members).
  • We will visit the new American Writers Museum in the building that once housed the Oz book publisher, Contemporary Books. Baum and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz are featured prominently in their interactive exhibit.
  • Then, we'll relax for a trolley tour around the Loop, near West side and River North neighborhoods to see dozens of sites connected to L. Frank Baum, W.W. Denslow, and the publishers of Oz. We'll ride past the manisons of the historic Prairie Avenue District (the setting for Baum's short story "The Box of Robbers") before returning to Jackson Park.

Tour participants will receive a Chicago-themed snack and a commemorative booklet highlighting the tour sites.

Tour is limited to 30. SOLD OUT.



President's Picnic and a Patchwork Play

We'll end our convention weekend with two events in Hyde Park on Sunday evening. Address, driving and parking directions will be sent directly to registered convention guests in advance.

Closing Picnic
Join the party at the Hyde Park home of Carrie Hedges as she ends her tenure as Oz Club president.


"Scraps" a new play by Anthony Whitaker

Scraps is a further adventure in the Land of Oz. The Patchwork Girl of Oz is having a "mid-life crisis" and needs to find out why she was created. An adult tale from L. Frank Baum's Oz, "Scraps" progresses the story of many of the children of Oz after they have grown up. It explores how many of the powers and attributes that the Oz characters possess would be seen as disabilities in the "real world."



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Of course you have them! A traditional full-weekend registration fee will cover all meals and program costs from Thursday’s opening party through Sunday breakfast. Optional Sunday tours, meals and theater tickets will be priced separately. Day and children’s rates will be offered.

Facebook users please see “Oz, the National Convention” to follow us for news and updates. And watch for a fundraiser; it’s generous donors that make the work and events of The International Wizard of Oz Club possible.

Scott Cummings: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. • Walter Krueger: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. • Jane Albright: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.